There are several types of gold mining claims, but placer claims and lode claims are the most common. Keep in mind that mining laws differ from country to country—even state to state. In general, a gold mining claim grants the discoverer of gold the right to mine on public land in the United States.
Keep in mind that gold found on federal lands requires a federal claim, and state claims may only be staked on state-owned and managed lands. (Federal minerals are managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.) Privately owned land or wild life refuges are not available for mining and any claims made on these lands will be deemed invalid. Other exemptions include National Parks, Indian Reservations, and national monuments.
An important implication in gold mining claims is something called the Prudent Man Rule which was established in 1872 and is still recognized in 19 states. The rule puts forth that any reasonable man would want to invest time and money into mining a valuable discovery, which basically means that U.S. citizens are entitled to prospect for mineral deposits. The gold mining claim, however, does not entitle the prospective miner to own the land or water where his discovery was made, but merely grants the holder with the right to extract valuable minerals within the land claimed.
A gold mining claim staked on federal lands must follow federal rules. Generally, the size of the claim is limited to 20 acres. Procedures for staking the claim include marking the area with a post or a rock at least 3” in diameter and 3” above the ground. The marker must be erected in the northeast corner (known as the “Number 1 corner”) where a location notice must be placed. Three additional markers must be placed at the corresponding corners of the claim and they must be numbered in a clockwise direction.
The location notice that is attached to the number 1 corner should include the name of the claimant or company and the date, describe the claim in square feet and include a description of the area. You should also indicate whether it is a lode or placer claim. A placer claim is for minerals found on the surface. A lode claim indicates the claimant intends to dig for minerals in the ground and create a well or shaft.
Within 45 days, the proper paperwork must be filed with the appropriate government agencies—such as the Bureau of Land Management or the office of the land manager. All filing fees must be paid, with special attention paid to other requirements set forth by the state or country.
Purchasing a gold mining claim can make the process easier, but keep in mind there is only value to someone else’s claim when you can prove there is pay dirt on the property. It’s important to discuss the details of a deal before you start mining. 10% to the owner of the claim is common, with 90% going to the miner.
What you Need to Know About Arizona gold mining